Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

What comes to mind when one hears "Joe Cocker"?  0

Posted on July 9th, 2008. About Entertainment.

The answer to this question for me was always:
1. He sounds like he has laryngitis.
2. What the heck is he saying?

Evan recently passed on this link to some fun footage of Joe Cocker singing at Woodstock in 1969 – with some minor editing. Enjoy!

A childhood dream fulfilled – I saw Duran Duran!  0

Posted on May 1st, 2008. About Entertainment, Ramblings.

Evan and I saw Duran Duran in concert at the WAMU Theater in Seattle last night! As is the case whenever I have seen a good ’80s group perform, things were quite surreal. To hear a song like “Hungry Like the Wolf” performed live by the group who created it, a tune so familiar that I cannot remember not having known it, was pleasantly bizarre. I heard everything I wanted to hear – “Planet Earth,” “Save a Prayer,” and “The Reflex,” to name a few from their 1980’s grandeur. My very favorites, though, were the two hits from their 1993 album, The Wedding Album, “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone.” Perhaps this is because I have real conscious memory of when these songs were huge, and the others came out when I was too young to really understand how big they were.

There was a moment when I leaned over to Evan during “Ordinary World” to remind him that this great tune was actually fifteen years old. Sheesh, wasn’t it yesterday that my friends and I were riding in the carpool to drama camp during the summer following eighth grade, and we heard this song almost daily on the radio? I remember the music video – a girl with a big bow on her dress running. I did not see too many music videos back when MTV actually featured them, but for some reason I really remember that one.

What has happened to it all? Crazy, some would say…

But I won’t cry for yesterday. After all, life is better now! I have Evan, with whom I can enjoy nostalgic concerts. I have Gabriel, who was someday to be back in 1993, but was still 14 years from actually being. It is difficult not to reminisce, though, when music used to be this good.

I saw a GREAT movie recently  0

Posted on April 22nd, 2008. About Entertainment.

It was a film by Stanley Kubrick called 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Okay, so it’s not a new movie exactly (1968) – as Evan pointed out to me in no uncertain terms, I’m completely behind in having just now seen it. “How have you NOT seen this already?” I think that was close to what he said, followed by, “How did you not see this in college?” Well, I wasn’t alive when it was released in 1968, was I? I would not have seen it in high school, because that preceded my understanding of great movies and many great books (as an example here, when I was in high school, I thought While You Were Sleeping was a great movie), so the soonest I could have really been exposed to it was 1997. With this in mind, I’m only 11 years behind.

Anyway, it was amazing. I loved it. I could not stop thinking about it or talking about it for days after seeing it. I went to work the following day raving about it, and faced a colleague who immediately claimed that it was “the most boring movie ever.” Not to have my enthusiasm muffled, I continued across the room to one of the neurosurgery residents on our team, who wholeheartedly agreed with my opinion. Ha – so I’ll just talk to him about it then. Our medical team assistant happily joined the discussion, encouraging me to see 2010. I emailed my sister-in-law, a movie buff, to ask her opinion about certain parts. After all, she’s seen every movie ever made (disclaimer: slight exaggeration for emphasis, known as a hyperbole). She replied with her opinion – it was awful and boring, and she stopped watching 45 minutes into it. I informed her she had to watch the whole thing, and she replied that it wasn’t worth it. I emailed several friends who I was sure had seen it, and received a reply to the effect of: “Oh yeah, I watched that in college. It was good – I don’t remember much of it though.”

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!!!

I’m not getting something here – this was the greatest movie I have seen in at least a year, maybe longer. I experienced certain emotions during it that I don’t think I’ve felt previously – an entirely different sort of fear. During the few seconds when HAL was reading the lips of the astronauts, and it becomes evident that HAL has intent and has made a choice to deceive these men, I felt this weird sort of horror. Then, a few seconds later, it hit me that not only is HAL deceiving them, but he has absolute power over their lives, AND they are in the middle of this huge, vast space, millions of miles from earth, and nowhere to go to get away from him. The story, the dialogue (which was minimal – there were actually very few conversations in the film, which was appropriate), the camera shots at just the right moments, the rapid aging scene at the end – wow. I didn’t want to go to work the next day just so I could be left alone with my thoughts.

So it seems opinions are divided – some people think 2001: A Space Odyssey is “the most boring movie ever,” and I thought it was probably one of the ten best movies I’ve ever seen. What a dichotomy of thought, perhaps indicative of different personality types?

My tribute to Kelli and Joe  1

Posted on April 5th, 2008. About Entertainment, Ramblings.

My cousin, Kelli, married my new cousin-in-law, Joe, in Texas last weekend, which warranted a trip down there from Evan, Little G, and me in celebration. It was a beautiful event! Kelli looked stunning in a gorgeous wedding gown. I was touched when she asked me to do a reading during the ceremony. Initially, I thought this was going to involve reading a Bible verse or a prayer, but she called me two weeks before the event and said something to the effect of: “Remember how much we always loved ’80s music? I was thinking the reading could be something about love, but with ’80s lyrics strung together – but read seriously.” I knew what she meant. When I arrived in Texas, nothing had been written, but the suggestion was made to read the Apache Prayer, which I think is very appropriate (it was read at my wedding), but I couldn’t help but feel Kelli wanted something unique. So I composed an ’80s tribute for them (remember – to be read in front of 200 people, in a serious tone):

“My 1980’s tribute to Kelli and Joe”
© Jodi Dodds, 2008

Some say love – it is a river.
Love – lifts us up where we belong.
Love – is a battlefield.

Kelli was just a Houston girl, living in a lonely world;
Joe was just an East Texas boy, an artist, in search of joy.
Now, here they are, lost in love,
and they’re getting married, because they can’t fight this feeling any longer.
The search is over.

Kelli recently finished physical therapy school in Houston while Joe was working in Austin,
And while being apart wasn’t easy on this love affair, they knew that
Every rose has its thorn,
and Joe was right here waiting for her.

Kelli – When Joe sees you smile, he can face the world.
He gets lost in your eyes.
You’re every woman in the world to him.
Now, here he is, the one that you love, asking for another day (or fifty years).
I hope you cherish the thought, of always having him here by your side.

Joe – She never thought that she could love, someone as much as she loves you. I know it’s crazy, but it’s true!
She would stop the world and melt with you.
She’s your venus, she’s your fire – she’s your desire.
You are her love, her love, her love, her endless love.

Some advice for the couple as they go forth in their marriage:

1. When trouble comes along, you must whip it.
2. Speak of your love often – say it loud, say it clear; you can listen as well as you hear. It’s too late when we die.
3. You’ve gotta have faith.
4. Enjoy your time together – right now, hey, it’s your tomorrow. Right now, come on, it’s every thing. Catch that magic moment and do it right here and now. It means everything.

Now, let’s celebrate good times with Kelli and Joe, come on!
They’ll have the time of their lives;
No, they’ve never felt like this before.
Oh, what a feeling!
I love you both, and oh – what a nice day for a white wedding.

Anyway – it was a hit. I think her guests really enjoyed it, and I know I enjoyed delivering it. Thanks, Kelli, for allowing me the podium on your very special day!

I love Rent…  0

Posted on November 5th, 2007. About Entertainment, Ramblings.

Rent, the musical (I like to think of it as a “rock opera”), that is.

I arrived home from work at 5:45 this evening and was greeted by my precious three-and-a-half month old son and his new nanny, who just started working for us today. Then, I fed G, and he stopped eating periodically to look up and offer me a sleepy smile. 🙂 He is darling! Then, we played for a bit, and he nearly fell asleep on his blanket on the floor – I guess he has a very exciting day. As he napped, I cooked dinner, and as I sat down to eat, I wanted to listen to music rather than watch tv. Instantly, I wanted to hear the Rent soundtrack. I haven’t heard it in about a year, but tonight I just needed to enjoy one of my all-time favorite songs from a musical theatre production, Seasons of Love.

What a monumental composition! It is such a tragedy that Jonathan Larsen passed away at only 35, before he had the chance to enjoy his amazing show.

The start of Seasons of Love is profound:

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure – Measure A Year?
In Daylights – In Sunsets
In Midnights – In Cups Of Coffee
In Inches – In Miles
In Laughter – In Strife
In – Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure
A Year In The Life?

The next verse is equally astonishing:

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Journeys To Plan
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure The Life
Of A Woman Or A Man?
In Truth That She Learned
Or In Times That He Cried
In Bridges He Burned
Or The Way That She Died
All:
It’s Time Now – To Sing Out
Though The Story Never Ends
Let’s Celebrate
Remember A Year In The Life Of Friends

And yet – the words do not do the song justice. The passion in the voices of the performers, and the style of the music itself, is just awesome. And it doesn’t end there – so many remarkable songs tell the story of Gen X-ers struggling to survive in an age of poverty, AIDS, doomed love, addiction. Some of my other favorites include One Song Glory, Roger’s reckoning with his HIV status and the death of his beloved (and the source of his infection); Will I, the fearful chanting of the HIV support group as they wonder if they will lose their dignity; Santa Fe, the fantasizing of friends with hopeless futures; and What You Own, two friends with pithy statements on the state of American materialism.

Thanks, Jonathan Larsen. I hope you enjoyed composing it as much as I enjoy listening to it on evenings just before my son splashes around in his tub and listens to his bedtime story.

Robert Goulet passes away  0

Posted on October 30th, 2007. About Entertainment.

Actor Robert Goulet died today, which makes me sad. While he may be best remembered for his roles on the Broadway stage in "Camelot" and "Man of La Mancha," I will always remember him as Quentin Hapsburg in "The Naked Gun 2 1/2." What an excellent comical villain he made.

Jesus Camp  0

Posted on May 13th, 2007. About Entertainment, News and Politics, Ramblings.

Evan and I watched Jesus Camp over the weekend – a documentary featuring children as they experience evangelical camp, during which they are further taught to speak in tongues, that abortion at any stage is murdering innocent babies, and to lay down their lives for the religious beliefs they carry.

I will not elaborate much, because I will fail to adequately describe the situation, but video footage is worth viewing. I think what stands out to me the most is how very isolated these children are. They are home-schooled, and the only other children with whom they associate are the kids at their fundamentalist churches or at their summer camps. They pass around plastic fetuses, but there is no mention of sexual education or how these babies were created. Adults are not teaching children to respect God’s beautiful planet, but they believe Global Warming is a farce.

The part I found the most amusing was the footage of Rev. Ted Haggard preaching at his church in Colorado. Of course, the film was made before we knew what is now known – that Haggard paid a male prostitute for sex and was purchasing drugs (that he never actually used, or so he says). It’s okay, though, because now he has repented, and his church has forgiven him (although not reinstated him as their minister).

So anyhow, after watching these young children dropping to their knees in tears, speaking in tongues, and telling the adult filmmakers what truth really is, I looked at Evan and said, “You know, we really need to have a LOT of children.”

Song of the South due for release  1

Posted on March 27th, 2007. About Entertainment.

Another nostalgic blog post of sorts…with commentary.

I was intrigued to see this article on MSNBC this evening, informing me that Disney’s 1940s film, Song of the South, is finally to be released to the public for purchase, more than 60 years after its screening premiere. I remember seeing the movie with my dad during that 1986 theater release, and laughing for days about the Uncle Remus stories. Of course, years later I heard it mentioned that Song of the South contained racist elements, which puzzled me. I suppose it may be racist in the same way groups have considered The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn racist – that black characters speak with a dialect and are in positions of subservience to white characters? I suppose I see why this may be offensive – but I also understand that in the rural south many years ago, while it was unfortunate that black Americans were not afforded the same opportunities for higher education and advancement in status, it was the cruel and unfortunate reality of this time period.

If anything, I recall feeling positively towards Jim in Huck Finn, and I definitely remember liking Uncle Remus’ character (disclaimer: I have not seen the film since 1986, so I’m operating purely on my impression at the time) in Song of the South. He entertains a young boy with his imaginative stories, and as an eight-year-old child growing up in Texas, I did not view him as an inferior person, but as the hero of the movie – the story-teller who brought us Brer Rabbit.

I think to say that Song of the South is a racist film, one might have to make the same claim about Gone With The Wind, an accusation which I have not heard raised (although I’m sure it has been at some point). Mammy is a slave, and speaks her dialect, and is in a position subservient to her white owners – but the movie is lauded for winning multiple Academy Awards, and Hattie McDaniel even won the Oscar for her portrayal of Mammy! Incidentally, as the article points out, the actor portraying Uncle Remus earned an honorary Oscar for his depiction too. Yet, Gone With The Wind could not have been the great film that it was if Mammy had been an attorney with the local law firm while speaking the Queen’s English, as it would not have been realistic. The only other option would have been to not make the movie, and do we really want to deny the past?

I’m Spiderman!  0

Posted on January 1st, 2007. About Entertainment.

After Evan informed the world that he is actually The Green Lantern, I took the same superhero quiz and found that I am most similar to Spiderman.

You are Spider-Man

Spider-Man
65%
The Flash
65%
Superman
50%
Green Lantern
50%
Wonder Woman
48%
Robin
45%
Supergirl
43%
Iron Man
40%
Hulk
20%
Catwoman
15%
Batman
10%

You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the “Which Superhero are you?” quiz…

Wild Strawberries  0

Posted on January 1st, 2007. About Entertainment.

Evan discovered the Independent Film Channel a year ago and has enjoyed many great films, uninterrupted by commercials. I admit to not being quite the movie fan that he is, nor is my enthusiasm anywhere close to my sister-in-law, Catherine’s, but recently the channel brought on a case of college-days nostalgia. When I was on the University of South Carolina’s academic team as a freshman in 1997, several of my teammates persuaded me (and thus, Evan – we have been together for that long!) to join them at an art film house on campus for a showing of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. Having recently emigrated from a very small town and graduated from an even smaller high school, I was familiar with blockbusters, but did not recognize that movies such as this one even existed. The experience of viewing the film for the first time was a surreal one. Antonius Block playing chess with death, a witch-burning – a reflective masterpiece created during a time when typical movies did not question the existence of God and one’s purpose in life, The Seventh Seal did just this.

The following semester, my English professor mentioned in passing that Bergman’s film, Wild Strawberries, was among the greatest movies ever created. Had I been smart, I would have found a way to get ahold of it then rather than waiting until this past week to see it for the first time. I don’t know why it took me nine years, but I saw that IFC was showing it, set the Media Center to record it. Again, an amazing experience! The IMDB one-liner reads: “After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.” A nice summary, I think, but the way Bergman creates Borg’s story is clever. Flashback, nightmares, eloquent dialogues, and minutes-long scenes lacking words are a few of the techniques used to illustrate emptiness and loneliness. Again, an atypical 1950s picture, although easily recognizable as a Bergman movie. Then again, it could be typical of 1950s European legends – I always picture the U.S. as a tad on the repressed side during this era.

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